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4 Fast Fixes To Help Baby Sleep


Sleep consultant Kimberley Fernandez

By Kimberley Fernandez - CLD, CCCE , Sleep Mentor


Kimberley has been a certified doula and childbirth educator working with families since 2006 and has recently certified as a sleep consultant with the Center For Paediatric Sleep Management.




 


Sleep for many parents can be elusive. And for many it is something they will stress about, even before baby arrives. In a previous post I discussed ways to begin laying the foundations for future sleep in the newborn phase, I highly recommend reading that as well. Once baby hits 3 to 6 months of age, you may be hoping they have fallen into a good sleep routine, but that isn't always the case. Then you start googling and asking advice on Facebook parenting groups. At which point you get a plethora of advice that can range from, "They will sleep eventually" to "Just put them in their room and walk away. They won't cry forever." Both options can feel soul crushing. And maybe you want to actually try Sleep Training, which is a valid option.


Help baby sleep better

However, before embarking on any sleep training journey, there are a few tips I recommend you try which may help bridge the gap between sleepless days or nights and actually working on a program to get baby to sleep more. These can be done for any age of child and can be worked into your daily life even before sleep becomes an issue.


Note - The way your baby sleeps is individual to you and your family. The idiosyncrasies of your baby's sleep is only a problem if you find it a problem. Please never compare your own baby and what they do with other babies.


The first fast fix, is get your baby some daylight. In the first few months after birth, your baby does not produce melatonin, the hormone necessary for sleep, nor is their circadian rhythm up and running. The circadian rhythm is necessary to produce melatonin and we need outside daylight to kick it into gear. Getting baby outside for walks, is helpful and walking at various times of the day. One day go for a morning walk, next time make it an afternoon walk, then later in the week it could be an early evening walk.


The next fast fix is very simple, putting sock on them. Even if baby is wearing footy pjs, adding some socks can help. It's not uncommon for babies and children to wake in the early morning before we want them to, and this maybe because in the early morning hours our core temperature will drop. Feet are shown to regulate your core body temperature, so adding socks to baby's sleep wear may help reduce their temperature drop and reduce their too-early-in-the morning wakings.


Fast fix number three is, create a predictable and calming bedtime routine. This routine should include activities that are repeated each bedtime. Plus ensure these activities are not rushed. A bedtime routine may take up to 30 minutes but less then 60 minutes to complete and should be started prior to the time you want your child to sleep. So if bedtime is 7pm, the bedtime routine would start at 6:30pm.



Help baby sleep better

Bedtime routines can involve, their final feed or bottle, teething brushing, a story and/or a song then some snuggles and then into their sleep space, either their crib or bed. You'll notice I didn't add a bath to that. Not everyone does bath time at night, to that can be done at a different time. However, if it is done at night, add that time onto your bedtime routine. For example, bath time plus 30 minute routine.


Finally, work on maximizing baby's day time naps. When naps are the ideal length and spaced well throughout the day, you may find that baby has built up enough sleep pressure. Trying to get a baby to go down to sleep at night if they are under tired can be difficult and you could be faced with resistance. However, if baby is overtired, they will likely fall asleep easily but not stay asleep very long and could be up multiple times during the night.



Sample nap schedule-2
.pdf
Download PDF • 56KB


Give these fast fixes a try for a week and if you are still struggling to get baby to sleep consider reaching out for some support. And remember, getting baby to sleep independently and through out the night will take time. Making one change will not necessarily work instantly. Consistency and patience will be what works. Especially with babies under 6 months, they are not developmentally able to form habits in the first few months of life. But a predictable and consistent routine will encourage them to get there quicker than if you did nothing at all.


Good luck and sleep well.


For more Quick Fixes:



8 Quick fixes for better infant sleep

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